Viliv Choices

imageViliv X70 told you about this interesting new MID and jkOnTheRun’s extensive coverage of it. Since then JK has posted Further Impressions of the Viliv X70EX UMPC. Additionally, Chippy at UMPC Portal has posted Viliv X70 EX Air is in the bag! and Viliv X70 EX Model Details Revealed. Starts at $599.

As usual, I’ve been dithering over the Viliv X70 vs. the Viliv S5. Both JK and Chippy have both devices, so I’ve been reading their reviews and comparisons, particularly JK’s Comparing the Viliv X70 and S5 UMPC on Video.

The obvious difference between the X70 and the S5 is the X70’s screen is 7” rather than the S5’s 5”. This larger screen size necessarily results in larger overall dimensions. The X70 is 8.27 x 4.6 x .89 inches, whereas the S5 is 6.0 x 3.3 x 0.96 inches.

The X70 is not pocketable, except perhaps in a lab coat. The S5 is pocketable … sort of. JK replied to a question from a reader (me) that the S5, due to its size and weight, is not comfortably pocketable. This is consistent with my experience with the HTC Advantage, which has similar though somewhat more square dimensions than the S5 (5.26 x 3.86 x 0.63 inches). Another reader (Mark on UMPC Portal) helpfully stated: “Would be fine in a coat/jacket pocket. And it does fit OK in my jeans pockets. But it’s not comfortable or pretty and I wouldn’t want the unprotected screen loose in my pocket either. With the leather cover on it’s obviously a safer, but much less comfortable fit.” Finally, Chippy succinctly states: “I don’t find the S5 pocketable. It needs the case which makes it chubby.”

Both devices are “grippable.” JK’s video indicates that the S5 is small enough that he can hold both sides of the device (in portrait mode) in one hand. However, he holds the X70 from the side.

This raises a question. If neither is truly pocketable, and both can be easily held, then why not go with the larger screen?

One reason why not is that JK has noted that the touchscreen of the S5 is softer than the X70. While both screens are resistive, JK reports that the S5’s approaches the responsiveness of a capacitive screen. My readers know how I feel about capacitive screens. JK replied to a question from a reader (me again) that the X70 screen is not “hard”, like my HTC Advantage and Fujitsu P1620, but somewhere in the middle.

On the other hand (more dithering), JK also reports that screen navigation is easier on the X70 because of the larger screen. The X70 also sports hardware the S5 doesn’t; a SD slot, integrated microphone and webcam.The SD slot in particular is important to me given the size of the SSD (32GB).

Chippy reports that the X70 has a mini USB port that contains a transfer adaptor. The idea is you just plug the X70 into your PC and file transfer software starts. He hasn’t yet tested this though. Based on the product pages, I think the S5 has a comparable port, but I don’t know for sure if it does, or if so, whether it includes the file transfer software.

Chippy also reports that the X70’s 3G modem is the Huawei Mobile Connect. As Chippy notes, this is a top-end model. According to JK’s Integrated 3G Tested on Viliv S5, X70 UMPCs, this modem supports US 3G on AT&T. I *believe* that the S5 has the same modem.

One potential downside. Neither device is reported to support inking well. It’s not clear to me whether the reason is the OS (XP Home vs. XP Tablet PC edition) or the digitizer. The first is curable. The second is not. I suspect the answer is both. The Tablet PC edition would better support inking functionality. But the digitizer would determine how well you could ink. Features such as palm rejection technology on the Fujitsu P1620 may significantly raise the price. For Viliv, it likely doesn’t make business sense to add a feature that would attract few but would have to be financed by a price increase that would deter many more potential customers.

Dynamism indicates availability soon for the X70 and the S5 equipped with an SSD and 3G. The S5 with a HDD and no 3G has been available for a couple of months already from Dynamism.

Viliv’s product pages also include the S7. The S7 seems to be an X70 with a keyboard. However, I’ve heard little further about the S7. It apparently wasn’t featured at Computex. Nevertheless, Chippy has posted: “S7 is close. Very close. It WILL come to market.”

While I’m trying to decide between the X70 and the S5 (and maybe the S7), as reported here a couple of times already, I’ll also be waiting for June 11, when Archos will be holding a press conference in Paris where it may unveil an Android MID based on Texas Instruments’ OMAP 3 platform. This device may compete (for me anyway) against the X70 and S5, especially if it is available soon and has a capacitive screen.

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